In memory of my father-in-law, Nonno Pasquale, that passed away January 2, 2015, I thought it fitting to dedicate this post to him and highlight two of his favorite desserts: ricotta cake and struffoli. It is tradition to find these two desserts in abundance during holidays such as Easter which is just around the corner. His unexpected passing further affirmed my desire to capture and record all of the stories and recipes that shaped our parents’ and grandparents’ upbringing and our ancestry.
I have to say my mother-in-law, Nonna Olga, has perfected this delicious cake and there is nobody that makes it like her. No wonder it was my father-in-law’s favourite.
This authentic family recipe is over 80 years old. Nonna Olga remembers enjoying this treat herself as a little girl. Her mother taught her how to make this delicious cake and now she makes it often for family and friends. The hint of golden rum in this recipe is key. But don’ think of this dessert as just for the holidays. We ask Nonna to bake this for birthdays instead of the usual birthday cakes because it’s so yummy. It is the perfect sweet treat with a hot cup of espresso!
Italian Ricotta cake. A delicious, light textured cake with a ricotta custard with a hint of golden rum that just melts in your mouth.
For the dough
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 3 large eggs lightly beaten with a fork
- 1 tablespoon golden rum
For the filling
- 454gm ricotta cheese (15%MF) softened slightly with a fork
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 packets vanilla powder
- 2 large eggs + 1 egg yolk (beaten with a fork)
- 2 tablespoon golden rum
For the dough
- Mix together flour, sugar and baking powder. Add the shortening and mix with hands to form pea size pieces. Add the eggs and rum. Mix together by hand to form a dough being careful not to over mix. Wrap dough with plastic wrap and set aside while making the filling.
For the filling
- Add the sugar and vanilla powder to the ricotta. Add the rum to the eggs then add this mixture to the ricotta mixture. Whisk all the ingredients together gently for about 30 seconds until well mixed.
- Lightly spray the sides of a 10″ round spring form with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Take ¾ of the dough and roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a circle (1/4” thick) that is large enough to fit the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Cut away any excess dough from the sides of pan. Use extra pieces of dough to patch any holes that may have formed.
- Pour the filling into the dough covered pan and use a spatula to even out the top.
- Gather remaining pieces of dough and roll out onto a lightly floured surface. With a pastry cutter, cut ¾” wide strips of dough and place over the filling in a lattice pattern.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until very light golden in colour.
- While still warm, sprinkle the top lightly with sugar.
- When cooled, sprinkle lightly with icing sugar, cut into pieces and enjoy.
Susan Ellery04.04.2015 at 02:40
Lovely Italian pastry. Turns out exactly like the picture. Easy instructions with very good results.
Lokness @ The Missing Lokness09.04.2015 at 19:42
What a stunning slice of ricotta cake! I still haven’t gotten a chance to try a ricotta cake. I am totally in love with yours. Would love to try making it soon!
Angela DeSalvo09.04.2015 at 20:05
Thanks Susan, glad you liked it! Lokness, let us know how yours turns out!
audrey21.04.2015 at 13:30
Can i know what is Vanilla Powder.. I never come across this ingredients… Would really like to try this recipe but this ingredient makes me confused…
Angela DeSalvo21.04.2015 at 18:25
Hi there, the vanilla powder can be seen in the post in one of the pictures. Its actual name is ‘vanillina’ and can be found in most groceries stores. It comes in little paper packs much like yeast packs. The vanillina powder gives a sweet and delicate fragrance and taste to cakes, creams, cooked fruit, etc… Hope this helps, let us know if you have trouble finding it!
alexa04.12.2015 at 11:22
Is there a substitute for the rum ?
Angela DeSalvo16.12.2015 at 14:53
Hi Alexa, you can actually omit the rum all together if you like or use a different liquor like sambuca or grand marnier. Hope you’ve tried it, it’s a great cake! Happy holidays:)
Val calvanezi13.02.2016 at 19:30
What in ounces is the ricotta cheese? Do not know grams. Thanks.
Angela DeSalvo17.02.2016 at 11:05
454 grams of ricotta is a little more than 15 ounces so basically the 1 pound container is what you need. Hope this helps!